Considering the rush of new restaurants opening in Downtown Ann Arbor, it may seem that there's one of every genre to choose from now. Not yet, says foodie entrepreneur Sava Lelcaj.
"We just don't have anything around here that is true tapas style," says Lelcaj. "We have Isalita, but I'm thinking more Mediterranean or European-style. Those are my roots, and I felt that was really good move for us right now."
Lelcaj is currently working to remedy that void, as she develops her newest venture, a yet-unnamed tapas restaurant on E. Washington. While she has been quietly planning the eatery for some time, having recently purchased the building at 216 E. Washington, the pending departure of the Mahek Indian restaurant next door has allowed the owner of Sava's
and babo market
to triple the size of her vision.
"It's actually three narrow buildings coming together to make this project happen," Lelcaj says. "It's one of the most beautiful streets in town. There is all of this beautiful architecture here."
The combined 6,000 square foot space will include between 200 to 250 seats between open dining and private rooms, as well as a basement kitchen and upstairs offices.
Many of the details, including the name, décor and menu items are still under consideration, and Lelcaj says a research trip to Spain this summer will help inform some of those decisions. One menu items she does anticipate serving is the flaming Greek cheese appetizer, saganaki.
"My brother said that if you're going to do a Mediterranean restaurant you have to do saganaki," says Lelcaj. "We like to have fun, and that's one menu idea we're excited about that is more tongue in cheek."
Lelcaj plans to open the restaurant this coming falls. She anticipates hiring a staff of 50 to 60 employees.
Source: Sava Lelcaj, babo market
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor